By Mangala Samaraweera –
On 7th December 2012, President Mahinda Rajapakse and Commonwealth Secretary General Kamelesh Sharma announced that the next Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting will be held in Colombo from 15th – 17th November 2013.
On the same afternoon, in a twist of irony, the Opposition MPs walked out of Parliament in protest against the manner in which the Parliament under the directions of President Rajapake, is proceeding with a politically motivated impeachment motion against the Chief Justice, in violation of the Commonwealth Latimer Principles on the three branches of Government.
As the current Chair of the Parliamentary Commonwealth Union, Sri Lanka has now an even greater responsibility to uphold the principles contained in the Harare Declaration to work with ‘renewed vigor to protect and promote the fundamental political values of the Commonwealth.’
However, in Sri Lanka, ever since the Presidential ‘power- grab’ of 2010, when the 18th Amendment to the constitution was rushed through Parliament, it was becoming increasingly clear that the Rajapakse regime was moving away from Commonwealth values and principles. Democratic institutions have been systematically dismantled since then but the impeachment process – more akin to a witch trial of the dark ages -unleashed against the Chief Justice has now exposed the true agenda of the regime at its worst.
It is in this context that the Secretary General of the Commonwealth should take urgent action to request the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) to evaluate the present situation in Sri Lanka and report if the actions of the Sri Lankan Government are in keeping with its declared commitment to the Harare Principles of Democracy and the Rule of Law.
Mangala Samaraweera MP
Former Foreign Minister.